Archive for the ‘Guest Blogs’ Category

Guest Post – Egypt!

July 20, 2009

World traveler Tanya returns with an account from her trip to Egypt a couple of years ago…

Taking a cruise up the Nile brings you a new adventure every day from the moment you step off the boat.  Whether it’s scenic sights or special transportation there is always something different to do.  You travel overnight by boat and as you dock each day you can choose from a donkey, horse and carriage, or motored vehicle (yay!) to visit the unique ancient sights including the Temple of Hatshepsut (with amazingly vivid hieroglyphics), the Valley of the Kings and Queens (full of famous tombs like King Ramsey III), the island Temple of Philae or the temple of Abu Simble on Lake Nasser on the southern border with Sudan.  The options seem endlessly exciting. Don’t leave without a a night on a felucca boat!  Select from a variety of tours  here.

Local Drugs for Local Bugs
I caught the flu.  I felt like shit beat to death.  They have a saying in Egypt “local bugs for local drugs,” so I had not bothered to pack any meds with me.  After becoming too pale for the Egyptians to look at me any longer, my tour guide suggested I go to the local pharmacy.  (FYI – Tour Guiding is rapidly becoming one of the most popular degrees in Egypt.)   So I dragged myself to the local pharmacy where I breathlessly explained my symptoms to the 16-year-old doctor.   Within minutes, he had the cure for me for the total cost of US$1.25, which included some cough drops and more importantly, a box of Cipro.  From my 9/11 experience, I knew that Cipro (in the US) was kept on hand in the large bank I worked at for top executives to treat anthrax inhalation, so I thought that was a little more than strange to just be handing it out to someone with a cold.  Certain forms of Ciproflaxin are not FDA approved (such as oral and I.V.) but different doses are commonly used around the world, so rest assured its OK for treatment Lower Respiratory Tract Infections and other common issues.   Also, a tip – if you are ever sick, you can ask to rent a hotel room for the afternoon.  A luxury five star hotel cost me the equivalent of $25 in Luxor, Egypt from noon-8pm.

Despite Tanya’s unfortunate sickness, she saw some amazing sights in Egypt.  Here are a few of her photos.

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Another Guest Post!

June 17, 2009

I bring to you yet another installment of “places my friends have been that I haven’t.” Peter Shankman, who travels hundreds of thousands of miles via airplane every year for his various businesses, HARO and Geek Factory, was kind enough to take a break from his busy schedule to write a bit about his all-time favorite escape from reality:

Phuket, Thailand

Get off the plane, you’ve been on it for at least 24 hours. Land, walk outside, and take in the first heavy breath of moisture-filled air – wherever you left from, it’s now 90 degrees hotter, even at midnight, and you know you’re someplace magical.

Go to your hotel (Stay at the Sheraton Grand Laguna and ask for a corner dock room) and wake up the next morning to some of the freshest fruit you’ve ever had.

Get a car to take you, in no particular order, to the gun range, the monkey school, and the top of the mountain – take in the beauty that is Thailand. I go back whenever my schedule calls for me to be in Asia. It’s like nothing in the world.

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Thanks again, Peter! You can follow him on Twitter here.

Guest Post!

June 8, 2009

I usually travel to faraway places with an accomplice a companion…and many of my friends are travel-addicts just like me. A few of my friends are so well-traveled, I wonder if they might actually visit every place on the planet in their lifetime. I thought it might be interesting for you, my dear readers (reader?), to hear some travel stories from those folks – so below is the first in what I hope will be many guest blog posts about places I’ve yet to visit (but hope to someday).

My first guest blogger is my dear college friend, Tanya. She was born in Pakistan and has family living all over the world, so she has international travel in her blood. When she studied in Florence for a semester during college, she was officially bit by the travel bug and vowed to live abroad someday. Well, she lived up to that pledge, and is going on three years living in Zurich, Switzerland after being granted a transfer by her company. Zurich’s turned out to be a convenient hub for travel, and the fact that she gets eleventy-million vacation days helps a lot too. With that background, I leave you with Tanya’s missive on her trip to Morocco…

Setting the Stage

Morocco is a concoction of Spanish-Arabian sights and specialties. One can travel through the old souks (markets) of Marrakesh for unusual herbs and spices, drive over the Atlas Mountains for spectacular views, rock climb through the world famous gorges, hire a camel to trek deep into the desert or even wind surf in the coastal town of Essoueira.

Despite sleeping below seven (7!) canvas blankets while listening to camels groaning, spending a night deep in the Merzouga desert is an unforgettably peaceful experience. The native Berber people live life with such simplicity yet make a mouth watering tajine of meat, chicken or seafood helping foreigners feel the warmth of home. Speaking some Arabic can save you money in the markets and speaking some French can save your life especially if you venture off the beaten city path.

Monoxide Miracle in Morocco

My friend Michelle and I headed off into the deserted roads for the faraway gorges armed with our bags and freshly hired “car and driver” from the nearest travel office, but, OOPS, we forgot our common “carbon” sense. We had no driving plan, let alone a hotel reservation, so when we arrived in places we liked, we relied upon the 20 years of guiding experience from our driver, Mohammad. We chose to stay at a newly built B&B, and while it was very charming it, unfortunately, had no heat. We were on an off-roading/rustic adventure, so we chose the charming and friendly host over fancy facilities.

We asked the host to heat up the room with a small heater (or something, anything) while we had dinner. When we got back to the room (after 27 rounds of rummy), the room was cold since the charcoals in the small cement fire pit had lost their flame. Due to the cold, we skipped our bedtime beauty regime and tucked ourselves under five blankets. Within the hour, I could not get a deep breath of air, feel my tongue, my legs, nor properly speak to Michelle. After a few futile efforts of trying to speak or hear, I attemped to get up and immediately tumbled to the ground like a ton of bricks, apparently diving into delusional convulsions (or so Michelle told me). Reminder: We were in the middle of no-mans-land-Morrocco where there was no hospital or doctor for 60+ miles. Our neighbor heard the noise, broke down the door and carried me up to the roof to breathe in some fresh air (and puke my lungs out). This was all the result of carbon monoxide poisoning (which occurs after the inhalation of carbon monoxide (CO), a significantly toxic gas being colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-irritating, so it is very difficult for people to detect).

Based on the effects, we guesstimate that I took in 800 ppm which according to the toxicity scale leads to “dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours.” The next level result is death within 2 hours. Sooooo, the lesson is, unlike us, please be aware that an open fire in an enclosed room is LETHAL.

Read this link to arm yourself with knowledge about CO poisoning (which we didnt have) that every person and traveler should be aware of.

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Despite this frightening story, the photos from Tanya and Michelle’s trip to Morocco were just unbelievable (due in part to Tanya’s great eye). Below are some shots to give you an idea of what the desert was like~

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Tanya and one of the many friendly faces she's met along her travels.

Tanya and one of the many friendly faces she's met along her travels.